delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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State of the rho
delirium happy
rho
It has been brought to my attention that I haven't actually updated about my life in quite a while. Furthermore, I think that the last state of the rho update may have happened when I was going through a immense period of life-suck, and needing to hide from the world.

The turning point, really, was a therapy session a few weeks ago. Amidst no few tears on my part, a few things seemed to finally penetrate my thick skull and work their way through to the layers of cotton wool I have in place of a brain. I then had a bit of a revelation on my own time a few days later.

Essentially, I realised this about myself: there's a part of me that desperately wants for there to be something horribly wrong with me that needs outside intervention to solve. If the only thing that can make me better is me, then that means that I've had the power to get over my issues all this time, and that it's my fault for not doing so. But just wanting something to be true doesn't make it so, and really, the whole thing is about me, and what I' going to do myself to get over my problems.

And in a way, what I've just written seems negative, and as if I'm beating myself up for screwing things up in the past, but that's not it at all. I recognise that me now is not me then, that circumstances change and so on. I've also managed to pick up a sort of Zen acceptance about the past. You've got to put your behind in the past, as it were. That which is, is. Accepting that has made it a whole lot easier for me to really deep-down believe that I'm not a hopeless case. Yay.

I've certainly been feeling much better, more positive and just generally perkier since then. I'm almost tempted to say that I'm not actually depressed at the moment. I still have a whole bunch of problems, of course but I'm not sure I'd characterise them as "depression". After $many years of living a depressed lifestyle, not tidying, not going out, not speaking to people, and so on, there's a whole lot of inertia to overcome to get up to what might be called a "normal" (scare-quote intentional) life.

For one thing, there's just so much that needs to be done. My flat looks like a bomb-site. My wardrobes are mostly full of clothes that don't fit me. I'm catastrophically unfit. I'm unemployed, and completely clueless about how to seek employment. I have pretty much no social-life. I have issues with how I relate to people that date back to bullying at high-school. I find it difficult (though easier than I used to) to keep to a 24 hour, diurnal day. And so on and so forth.

Of course, these sort of issues take time to fix. You could put the most together, non-depressed person in the world in this situation and it would still take them time to build up a life around them. Since I'm not even close to the most together, non-depressed person in the world, it will take me longer still, but time is not something I have any shortage of. I've had depression-related issues for over half my life, so another year or two more is neither here nor there.

An absolutely huge issue for me right now is confidence. Mainly the fact that I have very little of it. Actually, that isn't true. In some ways I'm an extremely confident person, but in others I could compete in an Olympic neuroticism contest. This is a natural effect of so many years lived apart from the world at large.

Clearly, the transgeder issues also pay a large role in confidence. It's difficult to be a confident person when you have body-image issues out the wazoo, and are worried about the threat of violence from random passers-by based on the way that you appear.

This too is improving, though. I'm definitely heading in the right direction on that front. The laser hair removal, the triptorelin, and the oestradiol are all helping a great deal. Which is hardly surprising, but still deeply gratifying.

I had an appointment with my gender specialist on Tuesday, and I fiugred that I'd wear a skirt to do so. I hadn't worn a skirt in public for years. Longer than I can remember. This was partly because of confidence issues, but also partly because I generally find trousers more comfortable in most circumstances, and am a very comfort-driven person. Well, that's partly a rationalisation, but also partly legitimate reason. Why bother facing up to the confidence issue, when there's no particular pressing reason to do so?

I figured that the appointment was as good a time as any though. Although The System™ no longer requires that all male to female transsexuals wear skirts 100% of the time, they are more inclined to look favourably on those who dress more overtly feminine, because of course, wearing a give style of clothing is absolutely a fine indicator of one's psychological readiness to have surgery on one's genitalia. Yeah. It's stupid, but such is life. If I can make my life any easier in that respect, even if only slightly, with such a minor act, the so be it.

I'm glad I did, though. It completely wasn't a big deal, either way. Didn't have a feeling of "eep! scary!" but also didn't have a feeling of "wow!" or anything. Which is how it should be, really. I've always said that I'll have reached my goal as regards transgender issues if I can go through the day without having to think of them at all. It's just one more option that I now know is open to me that I needn't be apprehensive about. I still suspect I'll mainly be a trouser-wearer, though.

I'm also starting to think about the issue of surgery. This has always been in my head as "something I suspect I'll probably want to have at some point, but not a major priority for now". The thing at the moment is that I'm being very very conscious on dealing with the mental health issues and the transgender issues in parallel. In the past, I've tried dealing with the transgender issues on their own, hoping that that would take the depression away. That didn't work. I've also tried pushing the transgender issues onto the back-burner and putting all my effort onto dealing with the mental health issues, hoping that I could become a shiny, happy person, and then stroll through the transgender issues after that. That didn't work either.

This time around, I'm dealing with them both at once, unwrapping the intertwining tendrils that link one to the other as I go. I've spoken with my gender specialist about the depression, and I've spoken with my therapist about the gender issues. I'm daring, now, to look towards the finishing line. The goal in terms of mental health is to be a happy, functional member of society, which pretty much means finding gainful employment. The goal in terms of the gender issues is to be in a state where I can just forget about them when I want to. And while it won't be the end of the road, surgery would be the last major step in that direction.

Figuring out the relative timing of these different things is not an entirely simple problem, though. On the one hand, obviously, it's foolish to go into surgery, that will hit anyone for six both physically and emotionally, if your head isn't on straight at the time. That's something of a non-brainer. So, naturally, I want to be as far along the path to mental stability as possible by that point.

On the other hand, the situation of getting a job, then 6 months later turning around and saying "hi, I need to take a few months off for medical leave now" is very much less than ideal. In a lot of ways it would also be much easier to integrate back into society if I wasn't in a situation of worrying about transgender issues. So in that sense, trying to move the gender issues a little ahead of the mental health issues would be advisable.

If I'd been smart, I'd have tried to figure this all out before seeing my specialist, but I didn't. My first step towards trying to figure it out (beyond just a bit of thinking about it and recognising the problem) was asking him for his advice when I saw him. His opinion (disclaimed with the fact that ultimately it was my choice, based on what was best for me) was that it would probably be better to look towards surgery before getting a job.

I then spoke to my mum on the same subject yesterday, and she seemed to be of the same opinion. She also said that she and my dad would be happy in principle to fund me through the private sector. There is a potential stumbling block in place there, though, since my parents are planning on building a new house and then selling their existing one at some point in the nearish future, and that process will give them some cash flow issues which could cause problems. I also need to find out the actual price that I can expect to pay. I'm thinking I'll probably go with Phil Thomas at the Sussex Nuffield in Brighton, since he seems to have the best reputation, and really, this isn't something where you want to cut corners in the name of price. Can anyone let me know his current prices? I have in my head somewhere around about ₤10,000 but I've no idea where I've plucked that figure from and I might be completely off.

From here, I think the current plan of action is to spend a couple of months or so just stewing over things, letting my parents get used to the idea, seeking advice from anyone who cares to offer it and several people who don't, then speaking to my mum again to see where we're at and come up with a plan of attack. This will probably involve going back to see my specialist in London in 2 or 3 months, and asking him to start me down the road of referral and what have you.

If I had to guess, I'd say that we'd probably be looking at about 12 to 18 months fro now. Of course that's dependant on a whole lot of issues. How long does it take to go through the system and get a date for surgery? Will my mental health stay good for long enough? Will my parents have money available at the right time? Of course, I've spent so long at this game already, a extra year or so really is neither here nor there. I'm not in any rush.

In general, though, I'm feeling really positive about the direction that my life is heading. I don't have everything in place yet, obviously, but the signs are all positive. Even better, all the problems that I have feel as if they're surmountable. I don't have the miasma of helplessness and desperation surrounding me at all times any more.

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Phil Thomas' current price for vaginoplasty at the Sussex Nuffield is £10,500.

A figure of £10,000 isn't far off for going privately with Mr Thomas. From memory of some-one I know going through recently, I think it was around £10,500. His work is very good, with low complications and very good aesthetic and functional results. He also has the bonus of being in the UK in case of any issues so he is very easy to get back to in the unlikely event that you need to.

How long to get through the system? Are you talking about privately or on the NHS? Generally the NHS is hit and miss; some people get held up for long periods whilst others get through much quicker. Around a year seems to be the quickest anyone has managed NHS.

As for private, all you need are those two referrals, and your year's documented and provable RLT. Theoretically if you can satisfy those requirements and have the cash, you could book for as soon as he has a free slot to go down to have the surgery with Mr Thomas. It's all down to you, and importantly, how you feel about yourself and the whole process.

Thanks for the information. I'll be going privately, so much less hoop-jumping for me, so getting it at a time which suits me shouldn't be so much of a problem. Obviously, though, I will have to get the two referrals, and to book a date for when he has a free appointment slot, and what have you. Not too bad, but that will take some time, obviously.

I'm glad that things are improving and you're seeing a good path that you can follow.

This post makes me very happy :) I'm so glad you seem to be doing okay and dealing with things and seeing the future in a positive way. I don't know if it's as simple as being able to fix your mental problems yourself; you needed to be in a place to ask for and receive the help to get you on your way. You couldn't have just sat there, thought really hard, and fixed yourself years ago. It takes time to reach the stage when you can start taking steps to fix things. People like your therapist are tools to help you get to the point where you're at peace with yourself, but yeah, I guess ultimately it is stuff you have to do yourself.

You have awesome and supportive parents, and I'm glad about that too. That's otherwise quite a horrifyingly large amount of money. I forgot to mention on Tuesday because I was a little bit crazy, but it was a pretty skirt and it suited you :) And just so this paragraph is yet more random and scattered: there's a spare room here if you ever want or need to come down for more than just a day. It's hardly palatial and I'm sure you have potential hosts (agh thinking of Goa'ulds now) with nicer places, and it's a bit far away from central London, but the offer's there anyway :) And Brighton's not a million miles from here, so when you do get there, and if you want visitors, sign me up :D

Yay. I am glad that it suited me. I mean, I thought that it suited me, but what do I know? It didn't go so well with the shoes or the tights I had on, though, but then the tights were pulled out of a drawer when I was doing a good zombie impression in the morning, and my choice of shoes is limited to a choice of approximately one, so I can live with that. \o/

Oh, yes, and I almost certainly will want visitors!

Edited at 2008-04-27 00:23 (UTC)

Yay for your parents!

I note that if you're going private, a lot of Americans go to Thailand for the surgery--and apparently one effect of this is that some Thai surgeons have lots of practice and are quite good at this. If you decide this looks interesting, please do your own research: this is based on reading an article or two a few years ago, and may not currently be valid, or it may no longer be a good deal financially compared to staying close to home.

The possibility of going abroad is one that I've considered already and rejected. The advantages of staying in the country out-weigh any advantages of going abroad, I think. Sticking in the country means a much more familiar environment, where everyone speaks the same language as me, friends can come visit, and so on. It also means I can head home a lot sooner, since a car journey can be reasonably endured much earlier in the recovery process than a plane journey. Finally, with the hospital being in the same country, it's much easier to go back for a follow-up if there are complications, or one is needed for any reason.

Thanks for thinking to suggest it, though.

*nod* I knew someone on LJ back in 2004 who had SRS in Thailand (she was from the UK). She stopped posting after the transition, but a quick flick through her journal suggests she saw the Suporn chap, who seems to be quite well regarded. She posted briefly a few months after the operation to say she was happy, and that was the last I saw of her. I couldn't comment on the rest though, if it's a good idea, financially viable, etc.

I'm not sure why, but I find Suporn slightly creepy. Possibly because he does all the facial cosmetic surgery as well. I don't know why, but I find the idea of having my face under the knife significantly squickier than having it done to my genitals. Maybe because some of it comes across as taking advantage of trannies and trying to get them to have as many expensive surgical procedures as possible. And things like the shaving off the Adam's apple can be really quite nasty if they go wrong and imo, don't give good enough results to be worth the risk in a lot of cases.

Phil Thomas, on the other hand, is a consultant urologist by background, which gives me more confidence. My bits might not look quite as pretty, but at least they'll be guaranteed to work.

Oh, yay! This was a fantastically wonderful post to find waiting. Today has been quite awesome generally in fact. I approve!

Whee. What other awesomeness happened? Tell all! (Unless it involves scrabble.)

I got to assist with an emergency c-section on a dog! I do get to observe surgeries from time to time, but this is the first time I've ever had a chance to assist with one. It was very exciting! *wriggle*

I also got to watch a TPLO on Wednesday, which is the first chance I've had to see one of those all the way through. So it's been quite a nifty week, actually. :)

Out of everyone I know, I can't think of anyone else who would get so excited about cutting up little furry animals.

Oh, good. I was hoping you might put your delightfully complimentary spin on things. ;)~

I have just now noticed that icon you used. It is most fabulous.

I'm really pleased to hear you're feeling in a better space, and I hope I'll get to see you again soon *hugs*

I'm sure I could be tempted to pop down to Bolton again at some point. :)

I'm really proud of you.

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